Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University was created in 1987 at part of the Iowa Groundwater Protection Act. The goals of the Center have been to identify and develop new ways to farm profitably while conserving natural resources as well as reducing negative environmental and social impacts. 

The Center is named for Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), a native of Burlington, Iowa, known internationally as a conservationist, ecologist, and educator. He saw the need for development of a land ethic, outlined in his 1949 book of essays, A Sand County Almanac.

Mark Rasmussen is the Leopold Center director.  A 17-member Advisory Board advises the director on policies, budget and program review.

 Completed Grants

Leopold Center News

August 10, 2017

A listening session to gather input on the future of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture will be held Wednesday, Aug. 16, from 5-7 p.m. at the Armstrong Research Farm near Lewis, Iowa. The listening session is free and open to the public.


August 4, 2017

The organic agriculture industry continues to grow and was listed as a $43 billion industry in the U.S. in 2015, with an 11 percent increase in the number of organic businesses. In addition, local food producers continue to increase in Iowa, marketing their crops through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operations, farmers markets, and to restaurants and food service outlets.


August 1, 2017

AMES, Iowa — A listening session to gather input on the future of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture will be held Wednesday, Aug. 9, at Iowa State University.

The session, which is open to the public, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center, 2508 Mortensen Road.


July 17, 2017

The Drake University Agricultural Law Center, in cooperation with Farmland Stewardship Solutions, the Iowa Water Center, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and The Nature Conservancy is hosting a state-wide conference to help landowners share their experiences and learn how to protect their land, care for the soil and water, and develop the value of their farmland.


May 15, 2017

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed into legislation on May 12, 2017, Senate File 510, a bill that included language to “eliminate the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.” However, he vetoed this segment of the bill, sparing it from elimination. Although the Leopold Center remains, Gov. Branstad approved moving its funding to the Iowa Nutrient Research Center at Iowa State University.

The Leopold Center, named in honor of renowned Iowa-born naturalist Aldo Leopold, was created as part of the 1987 Iowa Groundwater Protection Act, also signed by Governor Branstad.


Of Interest

Listening Sessions

The Leopold Center Visioning Task Force is hosting listening sessions across the state to hear ideas for future goals and direction for the Center. If you cannot attend a listening session, please provide comments through the online feedback form.

Scheduled Listening Sessions
Wednesday, Aug. 16
5:00-7:00 pm
Wallace Foundation/ISU Armstrong Research Farm
53020 Hitchcock Ave., Lewis, Iowa